On the third day of the second Test here on Tuesday, the home team maintained a dominating lead of 323 runs over the visitors as Pakistan struck with five important wickets to halt Sri Lanka’s ascent.
Before the umpires stopped off a day due to poor lighting, Pakistan’s bowlers bounced back in the second and final sessions of the day to reduce the hosts to 176/5.
After being in trouble at 117/5 after Dinesh Chandimal’s departure, the Sri Lankan innings were stabilized in the final session by captain Dimuth Karunaratne and all-rounder Dhanjaya De Silva.
The pair solidified their position at the crease with a tenacious 59-run sixth-wicket stand and remained there till the end of the day’s play with the respective scores of 27 and 30.
However, Sri Lanka had a miserable start to their second inning as they dropped both of their openers for just 47 runs.
The first Pakistani victory came after Naseem Shah dismissed wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella for 15 while Osahada Fernando was victimized by Yasir Shah after scoring 19 runs.
After scoring 15 runs off of 30 balls, Kusal Mendis followed suit and returned to the pavilion after being caught leg-before by left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz.
However, the strong-looking Angelo Mathew was dismissed by all-rounder Agha Salman at the score of 35 after he and Dinesh Chadimal had put together a 41-run partnership for the fifth wicket.
When he caught Chadimal behind the wicket for a catch-behind wicket to conclude his 21-run knock, Naseem picked up his second wicket.
Yasir, Salman, and Nawaz each struck out a batter, on the other hand.
Ramesh Mendis secured a five-wicket haul earlier in the first session, and Prabath Jayasuriya claimed three as Sri Lanka bowled out Pakistan for 231 in the first innings to strengthen their position going into the second Test.
Yasir Shah and Hasan Ali, the tail-enders for Pakistan, briefly fought to raise the total from the overnight score of 191 to 223 but Sri Lankan spinners bounced back and took three consecutive wickets for only 8 more runs.
Before Jayasuriya dismissed the latter on 21 runs, Yasir and Hasan were able to put together a 32-run eighth-wicket partnership. This caused the tail-enders to falter.
Ramesh subsequently finished off Pakistan’s innings by taking his third five-wicket haul in Test cricket, sending Nauman Ali and Yasir back to the pavilion.
Before being caught leg-before-wicket by Ramesh, the leg-spinner played a gutsy inning of 97 balls for 26 runs.
It is important to note that Pakistan leads the series 1-0 after defeating the host team in the first Test by a margin of four wickets.